Overcoming fears and making the effort to help others is the focus of this movie. It is almost a reminder that true love indicates that one must have a willingness to give up their life for another. Ultimately, it entails courage and a love that calls for a willingness to stand up against the things that have hurt them the most, and against the evil that attacks their existence.
Review by Mike Furches


This page was created on October 6, 2002
This page was last updated on August 21, 2003

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Click to enlargeDirected by Brett Ratner
Novel by Thomas Harris
Screenplay by Ted Tally

Anthony Hopkins .... Hannibal Lecter
Edward Norton .... Will Graham
Ralph Fiennes .... Francis Dolarhyde
Harvey Keitel .... Jack Crawford
Emily Watson .... Reba McClane
Mary-Louise Parker .... Molly Graham
Philip Seymour Hoffman .... Freddy Lounds
Anthony Heald .... Dr. Frederick Chilton
Ken Leung .... Lloyd Bowman
Frankie Faison .... Barney
Tyler Patrick Jones .... Josh Graham

Click to enlargeProduced by
Andrew Z. Davis .... executive producer
Dino De Laurentiis .... producer
James M. Freitag .... associate producer
Terry Needham .... associate producer
Martha Schumacher .... producer

Original Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography by Dante Spinotti
Film Editing by Mark Helfrich

MPAA: Rated R for violence, grisly images, language, some nudity and sexuality
For rating reasons, go to FILMRATINGS.COM, and MPAA.ORG.
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CD InfoRed Dragon
(Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

This vaunted "new" chapter in the exploits of serial killer/cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter is actually the first, essentially a remake of Manhunter, Michael Mann's adaptation of the Thomas Harris novel in which Dr. L. is but a supporting player. But where Mann used a nervous, often ironic rock and postpunk pop score, Danny Elfman's largely orchestral soundtrack here punctuates the film's creep factor with tense arpeggios and crashing rhythms. Nothing wrong with that, per se--the old school masters succeeded following a similar tack for decades. But Elfman is no Bernard Herrmann here. In fact, there's often precious little to remind us that this is the same composer who served up such goth-modern standouts as Batman, Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, and Darkman. It's a score that's masterfully atmospheric, yet strangely sterile--and one that occasionally dithers uncomfortably close to McGoth. The Enhanced CD features here include interviews with Elfman, director Brett Ratner, and star Anthony Hopkins. --Jerry McCulley

1. LogosMusic 2. The RevelationMusic 3. Main TitlesMusic 4. The CellMusic 5. The Old MansionMusic 6. The Address 7. We're Different 8. The Note 9. Enter The Dragon 10. Threats 11. Tiger Balls 12. Love On A Couch 13. Devouring The Dragon 14. The Fire 15. The Book 16. He's Back! 17. End Credits Suite

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Book infoRed Dragon by Thomas Harris

Lying on a cot in his cell with Alexandre Dumas's Le Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine open on his chest, Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter makes his debut in this legendary horror novel, which is even better than its sequel, The Silence of the Lambs. As in Silence, the pulse-pounding suspense plot involves a hypersensitive FBI sleuth who consults psycho psychiatrist Lecter for clues to catching a killer on the loose.

The sleuth, Will Graham, actually quit the FBI after nearly getting killed by Lecter while nabbing him, but fear isn't what bugs him about crime busting. It's just too creepy to get inside a killer's twisted mind. But he comes back to stop a madman who's been butchering entire families. The FBI needs Graham's insight, and Graham needs Lecter's genius. But Lecter is a clever fiend, and he manipulates both Graham and the killer at large from his cell.

That killer, Francis Dolarhyde, works in a film lab, where he picks his victims by studying their home movies. He's obsessed with William Blake's bizarre painting The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun, believing there's a red dragon within him, the personification of his demonic drives. Flashbacks to Dolarhyde's terrifying childhood and superb stream-of-consciousness prose get us right there inside his head. When Dolarhyde does weird things, we understand why. We sympathize when the voice of the cruel dead grandma who raised and crazed him urges him to mayhem--she's way scarier than that old bat in Psycho. When he falls in love with a blind girl at the lab, we hope he doesn't give in to Grandma's violent advice.

This book is awesomely detailed, ingeniously plotted, judiciously gory, and fantastically imagined. If you haven't read it, you've never had the creeps. --Tim Appelo


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Click to enlargeEdward Norton stars as ex-FBI agent Will Graham, an expert investigator who quit the Bureau after almost losing his life in the process of capturing the elusive Dr. Lecter (Hopkins). Years later, after a series of particularly grisly murders, Graham reluctantly agrees to come out of retirement and assist in the case. But he soon realizes that the best way to catch this killer, known as the Tooth Fairy, is to find a way to get inside the killer's mind. And the closest thing to that would be to probe the mind of another killer who is equally brilliant and equally twisted. For Graham, that means confronting his past and facing his former nemesis, the now-incarcerated Lecter.

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Mike is the Senior Pastor at United at the Cross Community Church in Wichita Kansas. United at the Cross is a church made up of individuals not often accepted in other churches. The church consists of former gang members, drug addicts, prostitutes and others. Mike also speaks nationally on various topics and is a freelance writer. To learn more about Mike and his ministry link onto In the arts Mike has worked with top music artists such as Steppenwolf, Marshall Tucker Band, Kansas and has an active interest in film. Mike is pictured with his music band "Route 66."

Click to enlarge "And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads." Revelation 12:3 (New King James Version)

Imagine: the fiery red dragon, also known as Satan, takes on human form, a human form that is obsessed with the beast. As a result of the pain of their past they actually seek to devour the beast in every way imaginable. The essence of evil begins to show itself within the man and he has no regard for human life. Men, women, children, all give no value to this beast. The beast capitalizes on fear, and in order for it to be destroyed we must overcome our own fears. The Red Dragon, in many regards, is an exploration of that very subject.

Click to enlargeBased on the novel by Thomas Harris, this movie is essentially a remake of the 1986 movie Manhunter. It should actually be considered a prequel to the blockbuster Silence of the Lambs (one of my favorite movies of all time in this genre) and Hannibal. While The Red Dragon takes some liberties with the original storyline, what we end up with is a movie that exceeds the terror of Silence of the Lambs and leaves Hannibal in a cloud of dust. The Red Dragon addresses the inner terror that is brought on by fear in such a way that audiences will be on the edge of their seats. While Silence of the Lambs was the first and most critically acclaimed movie of its type The Red Dragon succeeds at providing an even more terrifying exploration of fear and is actually superior in virtually every quality.

Click to enlargePortraying Hannibal Lecter once again is Sir Anthony Hopkins. While he lacked character in the movie Hannibal, he is back in his evil and wicked form here. As in his original role, he will be considered for an Academy Award nomination for this portrayal. One of the things that make this movie work is the role played by Hopkins. Lecter portrays the essence of evil here as well as any character ever devised in literature. This evil character has as a centerpiece of art a hurting Christ in his jail cell. In many regards he is Satan incarnate, with no morals or concern for life. He cares only for himself and for those who can devise ways to hurt others. Even those, however, are of little value to him and he will quickly turn against them to obtain his desires.

Click to enlargeThe Red Dragon is centered around the character of Will Graham, played wonderfully by Edward Norton JR. Graham, the detective responsible for catching Hannibal Lecter, has retired from the FBI and is encouraged to help catch a sociopathic serial killer known as The Tooth Fairy/Francis Dollarhyde, played brilliantly by Ralph Fiennes. Norton does an excellent job at presenting a character that you care about and feel for. Graham has his own tragedies to overcome and recognizes, after being persuaded by current FBI agent Jack Crawford (played by wonderful character actor Harvey Keitel), that he has to take the job. Once realizing that his actions could have a dramatic effect on who lives and dies, especially families, Graham recognizes the need to come out of retirement.

Click to enlargeOvercoming fears and making the effort to help others is the focus of this movie. It is almost a reminder that true love requires that one must have a willingness to give up one's life for another. While many viewers will focus on the evil nature portrayed in the film by the characters Lecter and The Tooth Fairy, it should be remembered that the true heroism requires bravery. Ultimately, it entails courage and a love that calls for a willingness to stand up against the things that have hurt them the most, and against the evil that attacks their existence.

Technically this movie is exceptional: there is hardly a wasted frame in the film and I found myself literally sitting on the edge of my seat. It does contain a number of gruesome scenes and therefore is obviously not for everyone. Small children and people having difficulty with story content of this sort will want to stay away. I, however, found myself drawn to the story and plot and while being disappointed some years ago with the movie Manhunter, ended up finding myself very pleased with this film. As said earlier, I believe this movie is superior to Silence of the Lambs, even though it is also an excellent film. If the audience response is any indication, they also felt the same way. The film includes two of the most diversified actors in Hollywood. Imagine from C.S. Lewis in Shadow Lands to Hannibal Lecter for Sir Anthony Hopkins and from American History X, or The Fight Club to Detective Will Graham for Edward Norton. Click to enlargeThe direction by Brett Ratner keeps you on the edge of your seat and causes you to go through an emotional roller coaster thrill ride. The psychological terror portrayed is exceptional and done in such a way that some will have trouble with it because it is written and portrayed so realistically. When those fears occur, it will be important to know the one that can overcome those fears. While some may choose to devour the evil one, only true love has the power to conquer. The allegory of one's willingness to subject him or herself to the evil one, or to overcome him with the love of the Savior is a concept that many will reflect on for a long time after a viewing of The Red Dragon.

"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon: and the dragon and his angels fought, and they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. And the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth and his angels were cast out with him."

"And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." Revelation 12: 7-11 (New King James Version)

On a scale of 1-10, The Red Dragon receives a rare 10. (Please remember to keep the kiddies away from this one. My son is 12 and there is no way I would take him to see it. I don't believe this takes away from the quality of this movie however.)

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